Carnegie Free Library. Photo Geoffrey Maclean/National Trust
By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE historic Carnegie Free Library located in the heart of the San Fernando may soon be legally protected. The National Trust issued a statement on Thursday stating that it has completed its research and documentation necessary to put forward a recommendation for the legal protection of the building through the “Listing” process.
The library is under the control of the National Libraries and Information System (NALIS) and located in the jurisdiction of the San Fernando City Corporation. Operations presently take place at a rental building at the top of Prince of Wales Street.
Following concerns raised about the deteriorating state of the building, the National Trust participated in a preliminary meeting with representatives of stakeholders. San Fernando Mayor Junior Regrello and librarian for Carnegie Free Library Hazel Hazzard Samuda facilitated discussions where all parties concerned were in agreement on the importance of safeguarding the historically important structure that was built in the early 20th century.
The National Trust stated that other recommendations for the restoration and future plans for the building will be on the agenda for a follow up meeting with NALIS and the Corporation. The Carnegie Free Library is iconic for the role it played at its inception in 1919, in granting access to books and information to low-income sectors of the society, who were excluded from such resources, the Trust stated.
“The National Trust is encouraged by the outpouring of concern from citizens and we look forward to working with NALIS and the San Fernando City Corporation along with any other interest groups that share our commitment to safeguarding this important landmark,” the trust stated.